I spent mine stuck at home, with a crummy cold, but received gorgeous flowers from my daughter Dana, and son Jeff, along with a box of my favorite See’s Candy. Dana brought me dinner (Jeff lives in Vegas), and I celebrated in my comfiest pajamas … then blew my nose, and went back to bed. Bummer! I did catch one play on Friday night though, just before the cold symptoms erupted! It was most entertaining … Let me tell you about it….
The Ghost of Gershwin – A New Old-Fashioned Musical
A lighthearted nostalgic musical romp, with a surrealistic edge, plenty of laughs, and romantic complications … the audience had a good time! Written with cleverly insightful intrigue by Doug Haverty (book), music by Wayland Pickard, and clever lyrics by Pickard and Laura Manning. Playfully directed by the multi-award winning Jules Aaron … a lively cast of seven take on their roles with passionate pizzazz! The dozen and a half songs and performances were so much fun! With a Twilight Zone-esque vibe throughout, the story unfolds present day, in Brooklyn. Grant … a struggling young composer, obsessed by the musical genius of George Gershwin, has his world turned around. Through strange and cosmic circumstances … Grant is visited by Gershwin (unseen by the others), when Gershwin’s actual piano is discovered in the basement. Top notch performances by both Daniel Lench as the quirky “Ghost of Gershwin,” and Andrew Bourgeois as Grant, the frustrated composer. All of their shared scenes are hauntingly magical! Both worthy actors, Gregory Guy Gorden as Grant’s pushy business manager, and Kyle Bares as a quirky choreographer, later share a pivotal scene, as truths unfold. The trio of lovely ladies in the cast turn in worthy performances too. Suzy London as Grant’s apartment manager, and frustrated singer/songwriter, was as always a delight. Emma-Jayne Appleyard as a femme fatale “showbiz Diva” (and the object of Grant’s affection) sizzled throughout. Last, but certainly not least … Jean Altadel as a hired tile setter in Grant’s apartment (who harbors a crush on him) was a non-stop standout! She nearly steals the show! Her song performance on “The Blues” was chilling! Technically creative too … the gorgeous set designed by Chris Winfield and Jules Aaron, was most impressive. Michele Bernath’s choreography was snappy and playful¸and Angela M. Eads costumes, set the “show-biz” tone with creative flair. Lighting design by J. Kent Inasy, and sound design by Steve Shaw round out the “tech” kudos. While the entire play was hilariously entertaining … Act Two exploded with songs and performances that tied it all together, and garnered thunderous applause repeatedly! This is a good old fashioned musical, loaded with quirky characters and a most unusual storyline … as the past meets the future. For a fun night out – gather some friends, and experience the eerily zany relationship that transpires between George Gershwin and his young protégé. A “feel good” production all around! Running through June 22 at Lonny Chapman Theatre located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. For seats call (818) 763-5990 or go to thegrouprep.com.
Back next week with my thoughts on two new productions … both opening in North Hollywood. The first at Crown City Theatre, and the second at NoHo Arts Center. In the meantime, I will be trying to get rid of this nasty cold….